Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HPSC1080 History of Modern Medicine

10 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Katherine Rawling

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

This module is mutually exclusive with


This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

What was it like to visit a Victorian hospital? How did doctors explain and treat illnesses in the past? How have things like wars, businesses, empires and political debates affected medical practices? This module answers these questions as it introduces students to the history of modern medicine, providing an overview of developments in the professionalization, specialization and industrialisation of medicine over the last 200 years.


To examine key events in the history of medicine, and to understand how these have contributed to the modern medical practices we recognise today.
To become familiar with a range of authors in medical history, and the theoretical and ethical criticisms they have made of medicine over the previous two centuries.
To investigate the heritage of medicine, and to recognise how material objects can be used to explore history.

Learning outcomes
Understanding of the ways in which various medical practices have developed over the last 200 years, and of how the medical profession we now observe is the product of multiple people, ideas and contexts throughout history.
Engagement with popular and academic writers on medical history, and a critical awareness of the issues and problems identified with the ‘progress’ of modern medicine.
Appreciation of the role of heritage in the history of medicine, and experience in researching and writing about medical objects, institutions and people.

Skills outcomes
An understanding of the way medical and scientific knowledge is contingent and socially embedded, and how this can be uncovered through the methodological approaches of historians of science, technology and medicine.


In each week, lectures in the module will engage with a new topic or branch in medicine. These are thematic, but also chronologically arranged, building up a fuller picture of how medicine has developed. With each lecture a key theorist and reading related to the particular topic will be introduced, and a new object presented. The module will also include a trip to the Thackray Medical Museum, where students will be guided around collections.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours81.00
Total Contact hours19.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Lecture revision: 11 x 1 = 11 hours
Lecture readings: 10 x 1 = 10 hours
Preparation for tutorials: 5 x 3 = 15 hours
Report preparation and writing: 25 hours
Exam preparation: 20 hours

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive written feedback on their project within three weeks of submission. Staff will also be available to discuss essays by email, or in person during office hours.
Students will receive marks and comments on their exam papers, and staff will be available to discuss marking by email or in person by arrangement over the summer period.
Student learning will be assessed in tutorials, where students will also receive verbal comments on their understanding and progress. Students will be able to visit staff during office hours throughout the year, or seek advice by email.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report1500-word Project Report50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 07/10/2019


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019